As a pet owner, one of the hardest things about having a dog is watching your furry friend walk around in pain. Sometimes, dogs are experiencing so much discomfort that they don't even walk around. They simply lay down for days on end and refuse to engage in any physical activity.
Unlike cats that hide their pain and don't let on to the fact that they are hurting, it's usually pretty obvious when a dog is in pain. There is a laundry list of symptoms to look out for if you suspect that your dog isn't feeling their best.
Let's take a peek at some of these pain-oriented symptoms. Then, we'll talk about the various ways you can help your dog and what you can give your dog for pain. And don’t worry! We’ll give you an extensive answer to the question, “What can I give my dog for pain?”
Symptoms of Pain in Canines
As we mentioned, cats are notorious for keeping their pain a secret. Unfortunately, this makes it massively difficult to tell if our feline friends are enduring discomfort. However, dogs aren’t as likely to conceal their physical pain, which is helpful because it allows pet owners to pick up on the fact their dogs aren’t feeling well.
Once you notice a few side effects of pain, you’ll start to pick up on even more side effects as time goes on. This is because the side effects of a dog’s pain worsen over time. Some signs of a dog’s pain, like joint pain, are obvious. But not all dogs exhibit signs of joint pain, nor is this the only sign of a dog’s pain.
So, the sooner you pay full attention to the side effects of pain that your dog is exhibiting, the better! Getting familiar with the signs of pain will help you spot them sooner, too.
Some of the side effects that might be signs of pain for your dog include…
- Rapid mood swings
- More aggressive than usual
- Keeping to themselves
- Not liking when you invade their space
- Gradual loss of appetite
- Sudden loss of appetite
- Unwilling to eat their meals
- Increase in yelping
- Frequent snarling or growling
- Loud barking and howling
- Quick to bite you
- Disinterest in drinking water
- No desire to go for walks
- Disinterest in favorite toys
- Over-the-top cleaning and grooming
- Babying one or more legs
- Change in breathing
- Heavy snoring or panting
- Shallow breaths
- Favoring certain positions
- Joint pain
- Difficulty walking or running
- Limping or crying when moved
- Irritable and snappy
- Swelling anywhere on the body
- Low energy, if any
- Liver damage
- Trouble standing up without shaking
- Falling over and/or fainting
- Uncontrollable outbursts
Now that you are familiar with the symptoms of pain in dogs, you’re probably wondering if the same medications people take for pain can also be administered to our canine companions. In order to answer this question, we’ll have to look at the details! It’s time to explore whether or not over-the-counter medications are safe to give to dogs experiencing pain.
Is Over-the-Counter Medicine Safe for Dogs?
When looking for an answer to the question, “What can I give my dog for pain?” you might be wondering if over-the-counter pain medications are safe. Generally speaking, you should never blindly apply your personal pain remedies to your dog.
Dogs are not structured the same as humans are, so it's important to take their internal systems into consideration. When it comes to over-the-counter medicine, the options often fall into one of two categories. OTC medications are either non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or they fall into the category of acetaminophen.
Also known as NSAIDs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are essentially medications that zero in on the inflammatory aspect that arises in a lot of situations where physical pain is involved. A few examples of NSAIDs are naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin. Even though NSAIDs are technically safe for dogs to ingest, these three types of medication are all over-the-counter NSAIDs and you should not administer them to your dog.
Pain medication prescribed to humans are not smart to give to your dog, especially when it comes to NSAIDs. The way these non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs work is by blocking an enzyme from working as it usually would. This enzyme, which is known as cyclooxygenase, produces prostaglandins, which are key factors in certain internal processes.
For example, prostaglandins help your dog to maintain a regular blood flow throughout the body as well as assisting in healthy clotting of the blood. If your dog doesn't have a regular level of prostaglandin, then your dog could be in grave danger. Without the ability to form healthy blood clots, your dog could very easily experience internal bleeding.
Dogs are also at a heightened risk of bleeding out because the body won't be able to stop blood from seeping out through external injuries as well. NSAIDs won’t automatically cause these blood-related issues for your dog, but a dog with NSAIDs in its system has a higher chance of experiencing these issues.
Not all NSAIDs are made the same way, so let’s explore whether or not you should give these specific brand name drugs to your dog for pain management.
Can I Give My Dog Aspirin?
Dog aspirin is safe for dogs. It is advised that you receive a prescription from your dog's veterinarian rather than automatically giving aspirin sold over-the-counter to your dog. Medicine—like baby aspirin or extra strength aspirin that people like you and I would take—is not safe for dogs.
Instead of prescribing baby aspirin or other forms of OTT aspirin, your dog's vet will let you know the best dosage of dog aspirin for your pet as well. Plus, when your dog is taking aspirin under the guidance of a veterinarian, your dog will be safely monitored by professionals.
Can Dogs Have Pain Medications from Your Medicine Cabinet?
Your medicine cabinet is likely filled with medicines that are part of your personal treatment plan. When you’re in pain, you probably reach for over-the-counter drugs that relieve pain. But when it comes to pain relief for dogs, your dog’s pain cannot be treated in the same way. We know that seeing your dog’s pain manifest as physical symptoms can be heartbreaking but don’t make any rash decisions. Giving human medicine to our canine companions as a way of relieving a dog’s pain isn’t the smart move. Instead of taking the situation into your own hands, reach out to a trusted vet to learn what you should do to reduce your dog’s pain.
Can Dogs Take Tylenol?
Tylenol is the most well known brand name of acetaminophen. Whether you're curious about Tylenol or you're wondering about a generic brand of acetaminophen, it is never wise to give acetaminophen to your dog unless your vet specifically tells you otherwise.
Never administer over-the-counter Tylenol to your dog, no matter the circumstances. It can pose a threat to various internal organs such as liver damage or issues with the kidneys. In severe cases, Tylenol and other brands of acetaminophen can cause harm to your dog's gastrointestinal system as well.
NSAIDs You Can Give to Dogs
You may be noticing a trend here. Dogs can technically take the same medication as human beings, but at the same time, you shouldn’t give human medications to dogs. That might sound confusing, but it all comes down to the nature of the pain meds.
While dogs can take NSAIDs, they should only take NSAIDs designed with dogs in mind. There is a difference between human medications and NDSAIDs for dogs. Brand name NSAIDs made for humans, like Tylenol or Advil, shouldn’t be given to dogs. Instead, veterinarians will prescribe NSAIDs created specifically for dogs.
Some examples of NSAIDs for dogs include…
You might recognize the name brands of these dog NSAIDs better than their medical name. Novox and Rimadyl are two brand names for the carprofen medicine. Deramaxx is the brand name for deracoxib, while firocoxib is sold as Previcox. Last but not least, Metacam is the brand name of meloxicam.
Do not attempt to purchase any of these medications as over-the-counter pain meds because it won’t be possible. All of these pain relievers require a prescription which your dog’s vet will give you if he or she believes your dog needs any of these medications. Always consult your dog’s veterinarian for advice.
Pain Medicine 101: CBD for Dogs Experiencing Pain
So far, all we have discussed are pain medications that are manufactured in labs. In other words, we've talked about medicine made with artificial products. But did you know that there are ways to treat pain in dogs without giving them medication that is made with chemicals, by-products, and artificial additives?
There are natural remedies that you can use for dogs in pain, and the most popular all-natural pain medicine is CBD oil. Short for cannabidiol. CBD is one of the best natural pain relief options for dogs. If you are a pet owner who wants to give your dog one of the most natural pain relievers on the market, then you should highly consider adding CBD to your medicine cabinet.
It is completely safe to give your dog CBD. Instead of manufactured pain relievers, CBD offers relief from pain without all the negative side effects. Pain relievers made in the lab can cause more harm in the long run, but CBD doesn’t pose any of these threats. It’s one of the safest alternatives to pain meds.
If you’re looking for natural remedies to improve your dog’s health, look no further than CBD for dogs! Incorporating CBD into your dog’s pain management treatment plan is a smart idea. It’s incredible for your dog’s health and overall well being because CBD is one of the best natural remedies.
Sources:Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs
An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol